The Yankees are expecting significant reinforcements after the All-Star break. But a couple key cogs are still looking at long roads back from their injuries.
Matt Holliday, who hasn’t played since June 25 because of a viral infection, was scheduled to play in his second straight rehab game Sunday afternoon for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and Joe Girardi anticipates the 37-year-old slugger will re-join the major-league squad Friday at the Red Sox.
Holliday went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two singles while batting third and DHing Saturday.
“Everything so far is so good,” Girardi said of Holliday.
The Yankees, though, will have to wait longer for outfielder Aaron Hicks (oblique strain) and utility man Tyler Austin (right hamstring strain).
Hicks sustained his oblique injury on a check swing June 25, and Girardi said the 27-year-old won’t resume baseball activities until at least July 25, when the Yankees return from an 11-game road trip to open the second half of the season.
Hicks had originally forecasted a three-to-four-week recovery for the injury.
“Hicks is still a ways away,” Girardi said Sunday afternoon before the Yankees’ series finale against the Brewers at the Stadium. “Maybe he can start some BP when we get back.”
Austin’s timetable is similar to that of Hicks. The rookie has played in just four games this season after missing the first three months because of a fractured foot. He landed on the DL again on June 29.
“These guys’ injuries, the grades were a little bit higher,” Girardi said of Hicks and Austin.
Still, Holliday (.262, 15 HR, 47 RBI) and Castro (.313 , 12 HR, 45 RBI) should provide a sizable boost for a Yankee club that’s floundered after a surprising start to 2017.
The Bombers play four games at the Red Sox, including a Sunday double-header, to kick off their post-All-Star slate. Then they travel to Minneapolis for a three-game set at the Twins and finish with a four-game weekend series in Seattle.
“It’s a really significant trip for us because we have to start playing better,” Girardi said. “We’re going to start to get some of our guys back, which you hope leads to that as well. We’ll have more experience with these guys coming back.”
Girardi said the schedule for his starting rotation will depend on how the All-Star Game shakes out on Tuesday night. Right-hander Luis Severino is representing the Yankees in Miami and could see action in the exhibition contest. In that case, Girardi’s blueprint would change.
CC Sabathia threw 75-80 pitches in a simulated game Sunday morning to give Girardi flexibility.
“He could slot in a couple different places depending on what happens over the All-Star Game,” Girardi said of Sabathia.
Left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who the Yankees optioned to Triple-A on Saturday to create space for more bullpen arms, will start a game in the minors next week, Girardi said. It’s unclear when the rookie will return to the Yankees’ rotation. When asked if the Yankees are trying to limit Montgomery’s innings, Girardi said, “No, not necessarily.”
“We’re giving him a little bit of time off here,” Girardi said, “and then we’ll get him going again.”
Montgomery is 12th in the American League among qualified starters with a 3.65 ERA.
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